by Melissa Martin
10/27/2011 / Recreation
Memories of happy times; beach vacations etched into the sand dunes of my cerebral cortex. I close my eyes and focus, and turn the pages of my memory album. I breathe deeply and smell the salty air; see the flowing ocean waves tumbling to shore; and feel the sun beating down on the gritty sand. Coconut oil mingles with tropical scents of an array of lotions. Like glue, sand sticks to my giant flowered towel and my toes. Ice cubes in my tea melt too quickly. I take a dip in nature's swimming pool and jump the waves with abandonment and experience sheer sensory pleasure. I feel tingly but serene. I'm enjoying life in the here-and-now. Sitting under the umbrella, I listen to the laughter of children playing in the sand and surf. They giggle and wiggle as if caught in a time warp. Like an assortment of Baskin Robins ice cream flavors, tourists of all shapes and sizes stroll by leisurely. Lovers hold hands. Teens toss Frisbees. Both young and old men ogle at women in skimpy apparel. The tide rolls out and in, oblivious to the blankets, chairs, and sand buckets. People scurry to grab their stuff from the gobbling oceanic undercurrent.
I turn another memory page. I see my daughter digging holes in the pasty sand soup and prancing in the foamy breakers. She scrunches her face as I reapply globs of sunscreen. I stay in hotels with my hometown friends. Fun, food, and laughter tag along. I feel content. I want to put time inside a beach ball and bounce around evermore. Ah, the days of youth slipped by unnoticed.
Due to fear of skin cancer and premature wrinkling, I stopped roasting myself in the beach environment years ago. Now, I wear a sun visor, SPF 30 sunscreen, and daily rent a beach umbrella.
In the summer of 2003, my spouse and I jotted to the beach in SC for a few days. I like to walk in the early hours before the crowd gathers (and while he sleeps). The ocean is a continual lesson of spirituality and divinity. Mystery and unknowing reside in the watery depths of humanity's soul as well. My finite mortal mind marvels at God's creation and this awe-inspiring liquid gift bestowed upon the earth. I inhale paradise and exhale appreciation. I close my memory album and open my eyes.
Melissa writes about the God and human connection and condition.
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